Our clients often ask these two questions regarding divorcing a missing spouse: 1) Can I divorce my missing spouse in Florida? And if yes, 2) How do I do it? Indeed, Florida laws provide for different type of divorce such as simplified divorce, contested or uncontested divorce, and divorce by publication. The latest is the procedure that permits one spouse to file and obtain a divorce against another spouse who is hiding or impossible to locate. Thus, Divorce by Publication is the mechanism that allows a person to file for divorce even though she/he does know where the other spouse is located.
Is it possible to divorce your missing spouse in Florida?
Yes. It is possible to divorce your spouse although his/her whereabouts are unknown. In general, the law requires an individual to send notice to the other party he or she is being sued (read “divorced”). However, the that a legal action has started against him/her. Notifying a missing person by publication may be made in any court for dissolution or annulment of marriage. Therefore, if you cannot find your spouse or he/she is hiding, you should use the vehicle called publication to move on with your to be unmarried life.
What is the procedure to divorce your missing spouse in Florida?
The Florida Statutes require several steps when divorcing a missing spouse.
- As a first step, you should file a sworn statement with the petition for dissolution of marriage.
- After that, a judge or clerk will mail you the document called the notice of action. This will happen within 60 days after filing the sworn statement.
- After issuance of notice of action by clerk, a newspaper in the county where the court is located (usually the Daily Business Review) will publish it for a small fee once during each week for 4 weeks in a row.
- As your last step, set the final hearing. The scheduling of the final hearing will depend on the County you reside and filed the action. For example, if you reside in Miami, the Clerk will send the notice of the final hearing. In Broward, you will have to file for default and schedule the final hearing yourself.
What is the content of the sworn statement?
The sworn statement must show:
(1) That diligent search and inquiry have been made to discover the name and residence of your spouse. That means you have to explain to the court what effort you undertook to find the spouse. Or explain the reasons why the spouse is hiding.
(2) Whether your spouse is over or under the age of 18 years, if his or her age is known, or that his or her age is unknown; and
(3) That the residence of your spouse is, either:
(a) Unknown to you; or
(b) In some state or country other than Florida, stating said residence if known; or
(c) In Florida, but that he or she has been absent from the state for more than 60 days next preceding the making of the sworn statement, or conceals himself or herself so that process cannot be personally served.
Filing a divorce by publication in order to divorce your missing spouse maybe complicated if you are not familiar with the process. Our office will guide you through this process in the most efficient and expedited fashion.
Contact our office: 2410 Hollywood Blvd,
Hollywood, FL 33020